Backpacking & Camping

Section Hiking The Appalachian Trail

In case you didn’t already know, the Appalachian Trail is the daddy of all hikes; definitely true in the United States, perhaps so worldwide. Very few people hike the entire distance, but section hiking the Appalachian Trail is very popular.

section hiking the Appalachian Trail

What is the Appalachian Trail?

Meandering its way up the Eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine (or vice versa if that takes your fancy), this monolith of a hike is estimated at anywhere between 2,150 miles and 2,200 miles long. At any rate, no matter which figure you believe, it is an awfully long way to walk if you want to do the whole trail.

Do People Hike the Entire Trail?

Strangely though, there are on average around 2,000 limber souls that decide to try that very feat each year. Most start from Springer Mountain in Georgia and attempt to reach Mount Katahdin in Maine, usually trying to do so in around 5-6 months or so. Some would say that Katahdin itself is quite a trek, but it is just a small step for the thru hiker. Sadly – as you would expect – many of them drop out along the way; usually only around 4-500 end up doing the full distance.

Appalachian trail, a section in Virginia

What is Section Hiking the Appalachian Trail?

You can of course hike the Appalachian Trail in a variety of ways; there are the thru hikers who have already been mentioned, but you can always section hike, or even day hike. Just because you have no intention of doing the full trail in one go, doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of seeing some of the best sights that North America has to offer – as well as some of the best wildlife.

Section hikers do just that – hike the trail in sections, fully aiming to do the whole thing but piece by piece. It is a very lucky person that has a boss willing to give them 6 months off to complete something so trivial, so there are a huge number of people that take a couple of weeks in the year and start where they left off. Obviously, averaging 20 miles a day – a feat in itself – would mean you would only conquer a tenth of the entire trail per year; so be prepared for the long haul if you ever think of going down this road.

Of course, you don’t HAVE to cover all 2000+ miles when section hiking the Appalachian Trail; it’s just a common goal.

How does Section Hiking Differ from Day Hiking?

Day hikers are very commonplace. You’ll find them in many of the towns and information centers around the trailheads, stocking up on food and water for the day and heading out into the great unknown whether they are alone, or even with the family.

Which is Best?

Well, that depends on you! If you’re a hardcore hiker, comfortable in the elements and have the time to spare, maybe you want to hike the complete trail. But most people will be day hikers (if they don’t want to spend one or more nights) or section hikers. It’s certainly an easier way to go for most of us.

No matter which way you decide to take to the Appalachian Trail, you obviously need to be prepared. A suitable pack filled with extra layers of clothing, food and water are essential, even if you are only out on the trail for the day; the weather can change in an instant so waterproofs are essential. Also, despite the trail being marked regularly by the AT’s blazes, there is definitely no harm in taking a map and compass; even if you know where you are going, you’ll want to try and figure out how long you are going to be – nobody wants to be out on the AT at nightfall without a tent and some provisions.

However you tackle the Appalachian Trail, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the experience; and you’ll probably enjoy the rest at home afterwards even more!

For more information, visit the official website here.

United States

Incredible Things to Do in Baltimore Inner Harbor

There’s a reason why Baltimore is also known affectionately as ‘Charm City’ and it’s more than just a pleasant surprise to discover that this quirky and friendly place is one of the best family holidays. If you want to pack in the most bang for your buck, then this is where you need to be. Read on for a comprehensive list of things to do in Baltimore Inner Harbor.

The National Aquarium

Things to do in Baltimore Inner Harbor - National Aquarium
A lionfish on display at the National Aquarium

A particular ‘must-see’ within the harbor itself is the National Aquarium. It’s impossible to miss with its steel and glass jutting out at all angles!

The National Aquarium houses a pretty impressive and varied collection of aquatic life, not least of which are the ominous gliding sharks kept in the tomb-like, room sized tanks in the lower levels of the aquarium where your kids can scare themselves silly! There are more than 750 species such as rays, sea turtles, sharks, crabs, puffins and other birds, frogs, coral, and plants.

Historic Ships including the USS Constellation

USS Constellation and other historic ships on are display in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
USS Constellation, now a museum in the Inner Harbor

Fans of naval history and seagoing vessels will enjoy visiting the historic ships in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The most famous is the USS Constellation. The last sail-only warship constructed by the United States Navy, the Constellation served during the Civil War. Later, she was used as a training vessel.

Now, she is a National Historic Landmark and serves as a museum to delight and educate the public. You can tour the Constellation’s four decks while you learn about its history.

That’s not the only ship to see in the Baltimore inner harbor, however! At other piers you will find the Lightship Chesapeake, a lightship in service from 1930 to 1971. Her red hull painted with the word “Chesapeake” makes her easy to spot in the harbor!

The USS Torsk is a World War II-era submarine also open to the public. She was preserved as a museum in 1972.

Finally, you’ll find the US Coast Guard Cutter Taney, the last warship in the battle of Pearl Harbor.

Ticket prices depend on age and which ship(s) you want to tour. Plan ahead as this is one of people’s favorite things to do in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Enjoy the Water Yourself with a Cruise or Dragon Boat

You can cruise around the harbor in a dragon boat
Dragon Boats in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, photo by Matthew Bellemare used under CC License

If you prefer to get out on the waters yourself, then you have several great options. The first is a cruise. You’ll get to enjoy the experience of a cruise and also see some of the sights of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at the same time. Options include a sunset cruise, a city lights cruise (at night), dinner cruises, and cruises that feature historical information from days gone by.

Here are a couple of cruise options to consider:

3-Hour Dinner/Dance Cruise

2-Hour Lunch Buffet Cruise

Another option is to rent a dragon boat. These are easy-to-operate paddle boats in the shape of – you guessed it – a dragon! What could be more fun than the experience the harbor on your own while paddling around in a dragon!

Dine on Delicious Seafood

Maryland Blue Crabs seafood
Maryland Blue Crabs

If you like seafood, you absolutely must try the offerings in Baltimore. The Chesapeake Bay offers unparalleled seafood, and your options for dining in the Inner Harbor feel nearly unlimited!

Options include:

Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls – best for lobster rolls and lobster bisque

Rusty Scupper – offers a variety of delicious fish and shellfish dishes, and also has amazing steaks (in case someone in your party is not into seafood!)

Miss Shirley’s Cafe – a delicious breakfast-and-lunch venue that’s popular for its variety of American food options

The Oceanaire Seafood Room – the perfect choice for fresh oysters, Maryland-style crab cakes, and even octopus!

There are also common chain restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory, Fogo de Chão, and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks. One thing to note – if you wanted to go to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – a restaurant chain based on the movie Forrest Gump – you’re out of luck. They were shut down in 2022 and have no plans to reopen.

Visit a Museum

There is certainly no shortage of museums in the Baltimore Inner Harbor! Here are some museum choices to consider.

Maryland Science Center
Maryland Science Center, photo by twbuckner on Flickr, used CC License

Maryland Science Center

The Maryland Science Center is a great choice for families due to its more interactive nature. For those who love space, it features both a planetarium and an observatory. Other exhibits feature information about the dinosaurs, the human body, and the Chesapeake Bay’s special blue crabs.

There’s a special Kids Room display perfect for young children who like to get active, whether dressing up or splashing around. Newton’s Alley is a people-powered display, while Science Aglow focuses on the science of light. There are so many other exhibits that this can keep your family busy for the entire day!

Port Discovery Children’s Museum

If you think you’ve seen all the children’s museums you need to see in your lifetime, then think again! The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is one of the top-5 children’s museums in the country. Kids can pilot a ship in The Port, work out their extra energy in the Sky Climber, or get crafty in the Studio Workshop. There’s even a kid-sized theater they can participate in.

American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum specializes in “outsider art”, or art by self-taught artists. A better way to describe it is in their own words: AVAM specializes in original thematic exhibitions that seamlessly combine art, science, philosophy, humor and especially social justice and betterment.

Permanent collections include specimens from Leonard Knight (Salvation Mountain), Andrew Logan (Black Icarus), Adam Kurtzman (Giant Golden Hand), Patty Kuzbida (What Me Worry? Bed), and many others.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum celebrates African-American history and culture in the state of Maryland. Their permanent collection includes African artifacts. military historical items, photographs by Robert Houston (who documented the civil rights movement), a collection of slavery documents, and an entire collection related to American jazz music.

Baltimore Museum of Industry

The Baltimore Museum of Industry has a couple of outdoor exhibits: a giant green crane, and a tugboat from 1906. Inside, you will find exhibits related to steel production, oyster canning, aeronautics, a pharmacy, a print shop and many other displays related to industry in Baltimore and further.

Power Plant Live!

Power Plant Live! bills itself as the premier dining and entertainment destination in Baltimore. Here, you will find eleven options for things to do, from restaurants to bars, an escape room to ax throwing. Special events include music and other entertainment. Yoga events are frequent, but perhaps the most exciting event is Brooklyn Heights’ Drag Queen Brunch (ages 21+ only).

World Trade Center

Baltimore World Trade Center

Baltimore’s World Trade Center is a beautiful building designed by famed architect I.M. Pei. Built in 1977, it is primarily an office building. But for tourists, the attraction is the Top of the World Observation Tower. Purchase tickets and visit to see the best views of the city of Baltimore that you will find anywhere!

For an even better view, you can take a 15-minute helicopter tour!

Other Family-Friendly Activities in Baltimore

If you have time to venture further around Baltimore, there’s lots more to do that isn’t at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Here are a few additional suggestions for sights to see!

Maryland Zoo

Okay, so the idea of a zoo may not ignite that spark straight off the bat, but when you consider Maryland Zoo’s location with its 160 acres of ‘natural environments’, you may need to reconsider.

The winding, tree-canopied pathways offer tempting shade from the sun for a perfect trek over rope bridges and boardwalks throughout this city zoo.  Discovering their 1500 or so birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles whilst hiking through this beautiful woodland setting really is a neat way for you and your family to combine hiking and exploration without having to go to all the trouble of much planning and preparation.

And if you’ve got any energy left over after zoo trekking, venture out into Druid Hill Park, in which the zoo is situated, and you’ll discover some further 700 or so more acres of woods, fields, ball fields, tennis courts and pathways – just remember to pack the Frisbee with the picnic!

Gunpowder Falls & Trail

Gunpowder Falls & Trail

Venturing north of Baltimore into Baltimore County, Gunpowder Falls & Trail is the ‘go-to’ park for family hiking and trekking.  Despite its spaghetti-western sounding name, this park is well managed with tons to keep everyone happy and active. Hiking, kayaking, cycling and fishing to name but a few!

Or, if you and your family are feeling a little more low-key on the active side, then leisurely family picnics in glorious woodland settings should probably feature on your schedule with a stop off at one of the many superior kids’ activity playgrounds situated around the park.

With all this fancy footwork, cooling off tired aching feet at the refreshing woodland swimming beach is another great option. Over 120 miles of trails make the area perfect for family holidays with all the natural beauty and wildlife that Maryland has to offer.

The B&O Railroad Museum

There are few places which can instantly ignite a childlike excitement and thrill like arriving at the B&O Railroad Museum in Inner City Baltimore.  With its gorgeous pale brick rounded central building, there are beasts of trains surrounding the outside where the start of the original Baltimore & Ohio railway line once stood.

Even if trains aren’t your thing, I challenge you not to be excited by the sight and sheer size of these incredible machines.  Ranging from the early days of railroading to modern day commuter trains, which serve between Baltimore and DC, this truly is an inspiring place for the family to spend the day together discovering America’s glory days of railroading.

Conclusion

Hopefully we’ve given you some great ideas for things to do in Baltimore Inner Harbor, as well as throughout the rest of the city. Before you finish, make sure you get a photograph of yourself near the Visit Baltimore sculpture. It’s a great souvenir and perfect for sharing your travels with friends, family, or on social media!

Europe

Our 11 Favorite England Bridges

Did you know that England bridges are some of the most famous in the world?

As you might expect from a nation that gave the Industrial Revolution to the world, the British love their bridges. All over the country, there are fine examples of engineering to be found, straddling rivers, estuaries, roads, railway lines and valleys. They carry cars, trains, boats and pedestrians with a sense of calm majesty, and in many cases they have become symbols of the locations in which they are sited. Here are some of the very best.

Our 11 Favorite England Bridges

1. Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge as seen from the Tower of London
Tower Bridge as seen from the Tower of London

Tower Bridge is the most famous England bridge, and is perhaps the most famous and recognizable bridge in the whole world. Construction began on the bridge in in 1886, but wasn’t completed until 1894. It is constructed from steel, Cornish granite and Portland stone.

Tower Bridge spans the Thames River, just across from the Tower of London and not far from the HMS Belfast museum. The two towers are over sixty meters in height, and are easily the most recognizable aspect. Click here to learn how to plan a visit to see Tower Bridge.

2. Albert Bridge, London

Albert Bridge, London

Albert Bridge also spans the River Thames, but connect Chelsea to Battersea. The original bridge wasn’t structurally sound, so it became known as The Trembling Lady! the version seen today was its replacement. Even so, this bridge dates back to 1887, though piers were added in 1973 to make it a beam bridge. There are 4,000 LEDs that light the bridge at night.

3. Westminster Bridge, London

Westminster Bridge, London, England

Though Westminster Bridge may be eclipsed by its proximity to Big Ben and Parliament, it’s truly a landmark in and of itself. This bridge over the River Thames links Westminster and Lambeth, and offers service to both pedestrians and automobiles. The spans are green, making them look like aged copper, but it’s actually paint – and was chosen to match the color of the seats inside Parliament.

Westminster Bridge has been featured in movies such as the James Bond film Spectre and the horror film 28 Days Later, making it a popular film location in England.

4. Tyne Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne

Tyne Bridge, Newcastle
Tyne Bridge, Newcastle

Sited close to the location of a bridge that was built in Roman times, the Tyne Bridge connects Newcastle with Gateshead, and is a wonderful example of how the Edwardian engineers built on the foundations of Victorian construction excellence. It was opened in 1928, it was made by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, the company that also built the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Tyne Bridge crosses the River Tyne.

5. Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Once seen, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge is hard to forget! Its unique design allows it to tilt in its entirety, to allow for passage of boats in the River Tyne, below. When not tilting, it’s a favorite for pedestrians and cyclists; no automobiles use the bridge. It opened in 2001, giving rise to its name, and was the first tilt bridge ever constructed.

6. Humber Bridge, Kingston upon Hull in East Yorkshire

Humber Bridge, England bridge
Humber Bridge crosses the Humber River

Humberside is a region of eastern England that used to be part of Yorkshire, and the bridge that shares its name is a miracle of more modern engineering, having been officially opened only in 1981. The single span suspension bridge is more than 2,200 meters in length, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. Driving across this spectacular landmark incurs a toll, but it’s worth paying just for the experience.

7. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Perhaps the greatest testament to the skills of the legendary Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who died in 1859, it that many of his finest works are still standing, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the very best. His design wasn’t opened until after his death, but it remains a true reflection of his wonderful vision. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge, and is more than 400 meters in total length. It spans the Avon Gorge.

8. The Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge

Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge

The romantic Bridge of Sighs is one of the most beloved tourist attractions in Cambridge. This bridge across the River Cam is only open to pedestrians, and has been since its construction in 1831. It shares its name with a famous bridge in Venice. Due to its historical nature, the Bridge of Sighs is a Grade 1 listed building.

9. Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire

Ironbridge

Ironbridge in Telford is unique to our list due to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As its name suggests, it’s an iron bridge. It spans the River Severn, and was completed in 1779. Unfortunately, its designer did not live to see its completion. Ironbridge was the first bridge in the entire world to be made of cast iron.

Unlike the photo above, the bridge is now painted bright red.

10. Pulteney Bridge, Bath, Somerset

Pulteney Bridge, Bath, England

The Pulteney Bridge, built in 1774, is unique for having shops along both sides of the bridge. It’s one of only three such buildings remaining in the world, though they were more common in past centuries and remain so in novels. The weir below was used as the location for Inspector Javert’s suicide in the movie version of Les Misérables, played by Russell Crowe.

It spans the River Avon in the historic town of Bath, and allows vehicular traffic.

11. Tees Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

Tees Transporter Bridge

Take just one look at the Tees Transporter Bridge and you may feel a bit befuddled! It is the longest transporter bridge still standing worldwide. This unique type of bridge features a gondola that moves from one side of the waterway (the River Tees in this case) to the other. The gondola carries a section of the road from side to side.

The Tees Transporter gondola can carry 200 people, 9 cars, or 6 cars plus one minibus.

The bridge was built in 1910 and 1911 and replaced a ferry service in previous use.

The Tees Transporter Bridge is temporarily closed due to needed repairs.

Bonus #1: Menai Suspension Bridge (Wales)

Menai Suspension Bridge

Completed in 1826, the Menai Suspension Bridge was the world’s first suspension bridge. It connects the island of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales at a length of 417 meters (1,368 feet). Prior to its construction, the only way across the strait was via boat or ferry. But the geography of the strait, with strong tides, made crossings dangerous. The bridge sought to replace that.

Bonus #2: Forth Railway Bridge (Scotland)

Forth Railway Bridge

This bridge is actually in Scotland, but we love it too much to exclude it from a post about nearby England’s bridges!

In the UK, the expression ‘painting the Forth Bridge’ is used to describe a seemingly never-ending task, and one look at this magnificent edifice will tell you why. With two main spans of over 520 meters each, the Forth Bridge is a marvelous feat of engineering, which many considered impossible at the time the idea was first mooted. The constructed required the use of over 6.5 million rivets.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have a chance to see some of these majestic England bridges in person. If you’re truly a bridge enthusiast, also check out our post about bridges in Porto, Portugal.

England

The Best Oxford Walking Tours

Oxford, England, is a very well-known UK city. Many will attach the name with the famous Oxford University; however, in recent years the city is becoming very popular for tourists in the UK to go on guided walks. Read on to discover the perfect Oxford walking tours for your enjoyment!

There are countless walks to participate in, operated by several companies. Two providers to consider are Oxford Tour Guides and Experience Oxfordshire. The cost and length of the tour depends on the specific options selected and walking tour operator.

Below are some of the current popular guided walks available to visitors.

Oxford Walking Tours - Oxford University
Oxford University

University and City Oxford Walking Tours

The university and city tour will lead you all around Oxford, giving you the information that you have been waiting to hear. Highlights include the world-renowned Oxford University and the buildings and surrounding infrastructures.

There is also a family tour option, which offers a sheet for children and adults to group together and fill out. It’s a great interactive tour for the kids to take part in.

Inspectors Tour

The Inspectors Tour features famous TV detectives Morse, Lewis, Hathaway and Endeavour. Oxford is, after all, the place where the famous British series inspector Morse was filmed! This very tour will take you around the scenes that were used for the series, and you will get to see familiar spots where the late David Frost filmed the series Inspector Morse.

Oxford Museum of Natural History
Oxford Museum of Natural History

Literary Oxford Tour

Avid readers will enjoy a literary-based walking tour. Famous writers who lived or studied/taught in Oxford include C.S.Lewis (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe), J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit), Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), William Golding (Lord of the Flies), and John Le Carre (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).

There are even tours dedicated specially to Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland!

Or if you’re a fan of His Dark Materials, then consider the Philip Pullman Tour of Oxford.

Civil War / Historical Tours

If you are a fan of history and war then take the Civil War Tour, which will tell you all about how King Charles made the church his headquarters when all hell broke loose.

The Jewish Heritage Tour will let you know all about how the Jewish used to live in Oxford and how in the medieval days it was a headquarters for them.

Gardens and Architecture Tours

The Garden Tour will have you touring around the greenery on offer in Oxford. Of course, this tour is most amazing in the spring, when the flowers have started to bloom!

Oxford Cathedral
Oxford Cathedral

The Gargoyles & Grotesques Tour will show you the many medieval motifs, demons and emblems that are all around the city buildings, hiding for the more watchful visitors to look at.

The Magic, Murder & Mayhem Tour will tell you all about the magic, criminals and the many secret societies that have been (and still are) in the city! The secret societies are associated with Oxford University, the most famous being the Bullingdon Club. Or perhaps the Ghost Tour sparks your imagination more?

Which Oxford Walking Tour will you choose?

Hopefully this article has sparked your interest in participating in a walking tour through this beautiful and historic city. No matter what your interest, there’s sure to be a tour for you.

When choosing a tour and a company, be sure to check online reviews to find the best ones. If you have any special needs, such as a wheelchair, or if you’re in the company of younger children, be sure to let the tour company know in advance so that they can best accompany your party.

Europe

7 Best Swiss Chocolate Brands to Try Today

What country would you think of, if you were asked who makes the best chocolate? Many people would say Swiss chocolates are the best. Switzerland is certainly known for its decadent and delicious chocolates, as well as its breakthroughs in the chocolate making process. Here are some of the best swiss chocolate brands you’ll definitely want to try!

Best Swiss Chocolate - Truffles

What makes Swiss chocolate so good? Their chocolate tends to be the creamiest brands anywhere, thanks to a process called “conching” that was invented by the founder of Lindt chocolate. This is a process of agitating chocolate while it’s heated to a liquid state. 

According to Grenada Chocolate, during conching, “various off-flavored, bitter substances as well as water vapor evaporate away from the chocolate.” This produces a sweet flavor without any unpleasant overtones, which accompanies the creaminess and creates the perfect chocolate candy!

Quality ingredients help too, of course. Everything from the cocoa beans to the milk, the sugar to add-ins like fruit and nuts, has to be the best available.

Without further ado, let’s explore the best brands of Switzerland chocolate.

Best Swiss Chocolate Brands

Lindt

Lindt chocolate bunny

Lindt is one of the oldest and most famous brands of chocolate in Switzerland. The company was founded in 1845, and is now headquartered in the municipality of Kilchberg. 

When visiting Kilchberg, you can tour the Lindt chocolate factory and museum, which tells about the history of the company. And of course, taste their famous chocolate!

Lindt has two retail locations in North America as well. One location is in New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, in terminal 1. The other is in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Canada. If you’re lucky enough to be in either location, make sure to top and grab a treat!

Favorite Treats: Lindor Truffles, Lindt Gold Bunnies, and Lindt Chocolate Bars

The official name of the company is Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG, which is not the same Sprüngli chocolate brand listed below. The two companies did split from the same parent group, however.

Maison Cailler

Want a “historical” treat? Cailler is the oldest brand of Swiss chocolate that you can still buy today. Based in Broc, it was founded in 1819. Nestle purchased the brand in 1929. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Cailler chocolate, you can visit Maison Cailler, the brand’s visitor’s center. It offers tours which teach you about the history of Cailler and its ingredients and processes. Of course, the best part is the tasting at the end of the tour. There’s even an outdoor playground for the little ones.

For a unique experience, jump aboard the Chocolate train, which runs from Montreux to Maison Cailler. The trip takes 45 minutes and is fun for all ages of chocolate lovers.

Favorite treats: Milk chocolate bars, and the Branche chocolate bar, which contains hazelnuts and a praline filling. 

Toblerone

toblerone chocolate bars

Americans who fly often know of Toblerone as the “airport chocolate”, as it’s often found in terminal gift shops. It was even popularized in an episode of Friends, when Ross’s girlfriend Emily had purchased a giant one on her flight and told Joey he could have it. Boy, what she gave up!

The shape of a Toblerone bar is unique; it’s like a bunch of triangles joined together on a base. Rumor is that the shape reflects the Matterhorn, though that is disputed by the maker’s sons. The mountain does appear on the bar’s packaging, though. 

A traditional Toblerone bar consists of milk chocolate, almonds, nougat, and honey. They do produce other variations, including dark and white chocolate. 

If you’re a fan of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original in 1971), you have seen the inside of the Toblerone factory during the movie’s title sequence.

Favorite treats: the giant 10-pound Toblerone bar

Villars

Villars Chocolate, located in Fribourg, dates back to 1901. They specialize in Swiss milk chocolate with a variety of additions like nuts and crispy corn (!), but they also make dark chocolate and white chocolate bars. They roast their own cocoa beans, and use Swiss-origin milk and sugar as well, making them truly a local-origin Swiss chocolate. Additionally, they don’t use any palm oil in their products, which is important because farming palm oil is a major source of deforestation worldwide.

Favorite treats include Swiss Whips, which are a creamy mousse with a crunch chocolate coating. They also make a variety of chocolate bars and even Swiss pralines. The assorted chocolate bon bons makes a special variety treat for occasions like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

If you’re in Fribourg while you travel, make sure to stop by their store for a visit!

Chocolat Frey

The chocolatier Frey is based in Buchs, Switzerland. It was originally founded in 1887. They are well-known chocolate makers, though some of their offerings do mimic other brands, notably their versions of the Cailler Branch chocolate bar and one that is very similar to a Toblerone bar. 

What is special about Frey is their commitment to sustainability. They boast several certifications in the areas of sustainability, for both their ecological and social measures such as higher wages for farmers. They also give back to the community by helping support the SOS Children’s Village organization in Ghana.

Favorite treats: Chocobloc bars and crunchy clouds

Swiss chocolate bark

Camille Bloch

Located in Courtelary, Camille Bloch is another famous Swiss chocolatier. They are known for their Ragusa and Torino chocolate bars. Visitors to this area of Switzerland, the Bernese Jura region, can visit their factory. It includes a visitor’s center, bistro, escape room game, and of course a shop full of chocolate! There’s even conference space available. 

Favorite treat: a Ragusa bar customized with your message is available at their factory. The Ragusa bar is chocolate filled with pralines and whole hazelnuts. Our favorite is the Ragusa Blonde with its unique color and flavors of caramel

Sprüngli

Confiserie Sprüngli, founded in 1836, is headquartered in Zurich, on Paradeplatz in the financial district. They are best known for their Luxemburgerli macaroons, chocolate bars, pralines, truffles, cakes, ice cream, and more. A visit to Zurich wouldn’t be complete without stopping by their cafe on Paradeplatz, known as a favorite meeting place for Switzerland’s elite class.

Favorite treats: Amaretti cookies, Luxemburgerli macaroons, and their chocolate-hazelnut cream. 

2 Swiss Chocolate Brands to Avoid for Now

There are two more popular Swiss chocolate brands that we want to mention but not recommend. Each has received a number of critiques as mentioned below. Please consider boycotting these brands until and unless they’ve amended these practices.

Nestlé

Nestle is probably America’s best-known Swiss brand of chocolate, owing to the presence of many of their products in the United States. They are headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. In addition to chocolate, they also produce a number of other products including baby food, breakfast cereals, and bottled water.

Unfortunately the company has been the brunt of lots of justified criticism, including child labor and price fixing, among others. On the other hand, they have a number of social responsibility programs. One can hope that they focus more on the latter and do away with some of their unfortunate practices in the future. 

Läderach

Läderach is another chocolatier that is well-known but controversial due to being anti-LGBTQIA+.

Where to Buy Swiss Chocolates

If you’re visiting Switzerland, a fun activity is to visit a chocolate-making factory. You can also find chocolate shops from these brands in a variety of locations. Because these chocolates are high in quality, the cost may be a bit higher than you’d expect, but it’s really worth the price.

If you want to find lower-cost, but still delicious chocolate while in Switzerland, you can find it at most supermarkets, including Coop and Aldi.

In the United States, where most of our readers are located, you can still get delicious Swiss chocolate. Lindt chocolate bars can be found in most groceries and drug store chains year-round, and before Easter, you can also find Lindt chocolate bunnies to celebrate the holiday.

Toblerone is another brand that’s easy to find in America, again at supermarkets and drugstores, but also fairly famously at airports. If you happen to be a fan of the television show Friends, you may remember Emily telling Joey that yes, he can have her Toblerone bar!

Amazon is also a great place to get Swiss chocolate. Here are some Swiss chocolate brands that you can purchase from Amazon if you want to try them! Note that some brands aren’t available on Amazon, and some tend to be pricey for purchase in the US.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of the best Swiss chocolate brands. There certainly is a wide variety to try! What is your favorite kind of chocolate, Swiss or otherwise? Drop a comment below to vote for your favorite!

Beaches of the World Florida Travel

8 Great Nude Beaches in Florida

While disrobing in public isn’t for everyone, lots of people are still interested in it. Whether you just want to try it once, or you’re a die-hard naturist, here are the best clothing optional beaches in Florida for your enjoyment.

Most Florida beaches do not allow people to go nude, or even topless. In the United States, we’re more critical of nude beaches than other locations, such as Europe. But it’s still popular enough that there are beaches in Florida that have been designated where nudity is legally allowed.

Is a nude beach right up your alley? Then pack a rolling beach cooler, (extra!) sunscreen or an umbrella, and hit the sand. Hey, the best part may be that you don’t even have to pack a swimsuit!

Note: Please check local rules and regulations regarding the legality of throwing caution and clothing to the wind. Some of these locations have specific rules, or are more “nude-friendly” than “nude-legal”. Because laws can change, don’t base your decisions on this blog post alone, but do your research into what is allowed before you go.

1. Playalinda Beach

I thought I’d start this list with the nude beach that is closest to my home. Playalinda Beach is located at the Canaveral National Seashore. Most of the seashore is not clothing-optional, but all the way at the end is Lot 13. That’s where you’ll find this nude Florida beach.

The entirety of Playalinda Beach is a national protected area, so you won’t find condos, restaurants, and t-shirt shops. Instead, you get a pristine beach with blue waters and white sand, and plenty of vegetation in the form of sea grapes and scrubby palms. If you want to get away from it all, Playalinda Beach is perfect!

To get there, you will cross the Max Brewer bridge from Titusville. From the bridge, if you look to your right (aka south) you can see NASA’s enormous vehicle assembly building, or VAB. To get an idea of the size, look at the flag painted on the side. Each stripe on the flag is wide enough for a tour bus!

On your way to Playalinda beach, you’ll pass through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most amazing locations for birding in the entire country. If you like wildlife, consider driving Black Point Wildlife Drive. Or stop at the visitor’s center to check out the feeders and find out more about the refuge. (You should definitely wear clothes anywhere else in the refuge, though!)

Bonus – you’re also very close to the popular tourist destination of Cocoa Beach, Florida! Just make sure to re-robe because Cocoa Beach is not clothing optional. However, there are lots of fun things to do in Cocoa Beach.

2. Apollo Beach

The north end of the Canaveral National Seashore you’ll find Apollo Beach. Both are within the national seashore, so you won’t be staring at the back of condos and hotels from the beach. The view is much more natural and pristine. 

Like its Playalinda counterpart, most of Apollo Beach has regular, clothing-not-optional beaches. However, stop #5 is a nude beach. There is less parking at Apollo Beach, so you can expect the crowds to be thinner. That’s a great thing, unless you’re one of the ones to arrive once the lot is full! It has about 30 parking spots, and the next-closest beaches are too far to easily walk to if the stop #5 lot is full, so plan accordingly. 

While at Playalinda you may not see people in their non-clothed state until you get to the beach, purportedly this is not true at Apollo Beach. So this area is probably not best for a drive-through with little ones whom you may not want to see naked people! 

There are a total of 5 stops at Apollo Beach, and each one has boardwalk access to the beach and ocean. Just make sure to choose stop #5 if you’re looking for nude beaches in Florida,

Haulover Beach - Clothing Optional Beaches in Florida

3. Haulover Beach

Haulover Beach Park is located between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. If you visit either Apollo or Playalinda Beaches, don’t confuse Haulover Canal with Haulover Beach; they’re quite different places!

Haulover Beach is considered the nicest of Florida’s nude beaches. It stretches for just under half a mile, and signs clearly mark it as being clothing-optional. And this one is an official nude beach!

Haulover Beach has beautiful white sand, and because it’s further south than the ones above, the ocean looks a lot more tropically blue. It also has picnic facilities and concession stands.

You will find many more people at Haulover than at either Playalinda or Apollo. By some counts it can be as high as 7000 visitors per day. It’s even family-friendly, if your family is into that sort of thing!

4. Blind Creek Beach

About halfway down the east coast of Florida, you’ll find Fort Pierce. For many of us, it’s nothing more than “the place to get on the turnpike”. But it’s actually a vibrant community, and it also features a nude beach known as Blind Creek Beach.

Blind Creek Beach is located on Hutchinson Island. You won’t find many man-made amenities here; this is a very primitive and natural beach. It does have a picnic table and an observation tower, but no restrooms at the time of this writing. (It used to have portable restrooms, but they’ve been removed because of COVID.)

St. Lucie County, the home of Blind Creek Beach, has designated it as a legal area for nudists. There is signage to warn those who are not aware!

5. Bunche Beach Preserve

Bunche Beach near Fort Myers is located on the west coast of Florida. If you’re more interested in seeing the Gulf of Mexico, rather than the Atlantic Ocean, then this is the naturist beach for you.

I’ve been to Bunche Beach once and didn’t see many people at all, and all of them were wearing clothes. I don’t think this is legally a nude beach, so exercise discretion. There’s plenty of parking but you do have to pay to park.

This is also a great area for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding through the mangroves.

Key West Beach - Nude Beaches in Florida

6. Boca Chica Beach, Key West

If you’ve made it all the way to Key West, the southernmost city in the United States, you may be looking for a nude beach. Find your way to Boca Chica beach, a beautiful and natural beach with plenty of seclusion for those who wish to enjoy being without clothes.

This is a wonderful location for snorkeling too; the crystal clear waters around the Florida Keys allow you to see really well when you snorkel or SCUBA dive.

You’ll probably want to use sunblock here too, but please use reef-friendly sunscreen. It’s the law when you’re in the Keys, and it’s to protect the fragile and declining coral reef that runs alongside the Florida Keys.

South Beach in Miami is known as being one of the best nude beaches in Florida

7. South Beach, Miami

South Beach in Miami is kind of a free-for-all when it comes to just about everything. Have you ever The Birdcage or There’s Something About Mary? Then you can probably picture what I mean. South Beach has amazing restaurants and incredible night clubs. 

South Beach also draws a lot of international visitors, so topless and nude sunbathers is even more common here than other places. 

Known as the American Riviera, South Beach does tend to get crowded. If you don’t want to fight the crowds, a weekday visit might be in order.

8. St. Lucie Inlet State Park

St. Lucie Inlet State Park is only accessible by boat. It’s not officially declared a nudist beach, but because it’s less accessible than some areas, people say that nudity laws aren’t really enforced. Use your best judgement though.

Being less-accessible has its perks; this beach is pristine and protected. It’s a favorite nesting place for sea turtles during the summer months. If you come across adult or hatchling sea turtles, be sure not to disturb them as they are protected by law.

There is a pavilion for picnics, and salt-water shore fishing is also a popular activity here.

Bonus: Cypress Cove Nudist Resort

Located in Kissimmee, the Cypress Cove Resort offers a nude beach. It’s on a lake, however, not the ocean. So in my mind it doesn’t count, but I’m including it here for those who might be interested.

Nude Beaches in Florida

I hope you’ve enjoyed this perusal of your choices in nude beaches in Florida. Whether you’re a native or vacationing from out-of-state, there are lots of clothing-optional beaches to choose from.

If you’re visiting a nude beach for the first time, just use some common sense. Don’t forget your sunscreen, especially on areas of your body where you don’t usually tan. Some of these beaches lack facilities, so bring water and something to protect yourself from the sun if you plan to stay awhile.

Also, this probably goes without saying, but nudity and sex are not the same thing. Even at a legal nude beach, there are activities that aren’t allowed, such as public sex. It’s also generally considered rude to take photos of other beachgoers, but that’s true for people wearing clothes too. Consider what would be acceptable to you, and try to give others just as much (if not more) consideration.

United States

5 Fascinating Attractions in Coastal Towns in Maine

What is there to do in Maine? When you think of Maine, you probably think of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Perhaps you think of Stephen King. Maybe you don’t really have any preconceived notions at all. Wherever you are in your knowledge of the Pine Tree State, this list will help you find some fun attractions near the prettiest coastal towns in Maine.

When we began to plan a road trip through the Northeastern States and Canada, we quickly realized that we’d spend a lot of time in Maine because it’s randomly big for a state that nobody talks about. Naturally, I searched for things to do throughout the state because I wanted to do more than look at Maine while we drove along Highway 1.

There are a ton of things to do if you like hanging out in nature. In addition to Acadia National Park, you can find several state parks and tons of opportunities for hiking. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you could easily spend nearly a month exploring the mountains! Check out these family-friendly hikes in Acadia that aren’t too difficult. Most of these treks will take you to a vantage point in the 3,000’-5,000’ range. Mount Katahdin is the highest at 5,267’. 

What if you don’t have a month? Or what if you don’t really want to hike?

Good for you, there are even more options!

Keep reading for the five hidden treasures we discovered along the coast of Maine.

1. Reversing Falls in Pembroke, Maine

Starting from the Eastern tip of Maine (about as far north as you can go while remaining on the coastline and in the country), you will head south and find the town of Pembroke, Maine. This town barely counts as a town because it only has 800 people! While it lacks people, it does not lack beauty.

Pembroke is home to Reversing Falls Park

Revising Falls, Maine

When I first heard of Reversing Falls, I was intrigued. Initially, I imagined a waterfall with the water falling up, rather than down. Then I realized that probably wasn’t the case. I then lowered my expectations to some sort of phenomenon or optical illusion that wouldn’t actually defy gravity but would impress my meager brain.

We decided to check it out. It’s a few miles off the beaten path and the last mile was a gravel road that appeared to lead nowhere. Since we were on the motorcycle, we debated not even trying to go the rest of the way. But I’m glad we did. 

Not only did we get up close and personal with some of the natural beauty Maine has to offer, but we also gained a big fish type story. Did I mention that it was pouring down rain so the gravel road was mostly mud and that we hit a moose? (Maybe the story hasn’t grown that much, but I know my imagination has stretched it beyond this simple gravel road along the water.)

Cobscook Bay

Once we got there, we went on a little hike to view Cobscook Bay. By little, I mean maybe ten minutes round-trip. It doesn’t quite count as a hike, but the reward is great!

At first, it just looked like a river with a boulder in the middle of it.

Then, if you looked closely, you could see that the water was moving in two different directions. This is because of the tide. You can’t see the ocean from this point, but it isn’t very far away at all. The tide comes in and goes out and creates a phenomenon that looks like a river that can’t make up its mind which way to go.

Attractions near Coastal Towns in Maine

According to the locals, you need to time your visit with the tides to make sure to get the most out of a visit! If you can stay long enough to view the changing of the tides, you will be able to see quite clearly why these falls got their name.

Supposedly, it’s also a great place to spot seals and the occasional porcupine. We weren’t lucky enough to see any wildlife, but if you bring a picnic and spend a while here, you might see a few different creatures pass by.

2. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is basically a typical northern beach town, but it’s one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Maine. It started out as “a playground for rich people” according to one of the shop owners we met. Many people had summer homes in Bar Harbor.

Then a wildfire burned down most of the town in 1947, forcing the town to rebuild itself. This is when it began to transition from a place for rich tourists to a place for not-so-rich tourists. However, the median household income is higher in the Northeastern states than in most other parts of the country. This results in coastal Maine being a bit more costly to visit than somewhere along the coast of Florida. 

Bar Harbor, Maine

However, the higher cost also leads to higher quality tourist traps. Everything may be more expensive, but the village of Bar Harbor is a bit classier than Myrtle Beach.

You can watch boats in the harbor, take a boat out, go on a whale watching tour, and explore the shops, among other things. But the one thing you must do in Bar Harbor is eat a lobster. 

Pro tip: eat lobster at a restaurant on the way to or from Bar Harbor, rather than once you arrive in the town. You’ll save a ton of money and the lobster will be just as good!

Maine Lobster

The reason why Bar Harbor is famous for its lobster is quite simple, really. It’s because their lobsters dab (see above picture). Just kidding.

Actually, it’s because the temperature of the water is just right to breed juicy lobsters. If you go much further north, the water will be so cold that the lobsters will not be as tender. 

3. Bangor, Maine

Honestly, there’s nothing spectacular about this city. I wouldn’t ever say “You have to go to Bangor sometime!” But if you’re traveling along coastal Maine, I would say “Bangor is a great place to stay overnight.”

It’s far enough from the coast that hotels are cheaper. However, it’s not so far that you can’t jump right back on Highway 1 to enjoy the beautiful views as you continue south through Maine.

You can find Stephen King’s house on Google Maps. It’s not a museum or attraction, though. It’s literally a house that you can drive by. But if you love Stephen King, (or even if you don’t), it’s worth driving past.

And you can eat at Dysart’s Truck Stop. The food and experience was incredibly mediocre (and maybe even a little less than mediocre because it was so crowded), but they went viral when they filmed a commercial. Find out why from this news article.

4. The Desert of Maine

This is a stop perfect for a break from the car. They have tours every hour on the hour, or you can take a self-guided tour at your own pace and time. This, like the reversing falls, definitely intrigued me and I needed to know more! 

Desert of Maine

When we got there, we learned that this place wasn’t technically a desert. A desert is determined by the amount of rainfall every year. The Desert of Maine receives as much rain as the rest of Maine. 

Why do they call it a desert? Because it looks like a desert. Except for the part where it is surrounded by trees. 

Why does it look like a desert? Once upon a time, there was a farmer who didn’t understand the importance of nurturing the soil. Eventually the soil began to lose its nutrients and turned to sand. Since it was no longer good for growing plants, the owner let his sheep graze in this area. Eventually, grass couldn’t even grow.

The wind continued to erode the ground and more and more sand formed throughout the years. The wind also pushed the sand around to create dunes. An entire house is actually covered because of this phenomenon. The story goes that the guy who lived there didn’t believe it when people warned him not to build a house there because it would disappear soon. 

Desert of Maine

This is a great place to stretch your legs and take some selfies. That’s (almost) exactly what Henry Goldrup thought when he bought it for $300 a hundred years ago. He thought the location would be a great place for a tourist attraction since travel was becoming more popular at the time.

5. International Cryptozoology Museum

As you continue south, you will come to Portland. Portland is the largest city in Maine and has a lot to offer. Only an hour from the New Hampshire border, this will be one of the last opportunities to explore the state of Maine! While there are many options for the stir-crazy traveler, there’s one attraction you absolutely have to visit: the International Cryptozoology Museum.

What is cryptozoology? According to Merriam-Webster, it is “the study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (such as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence.” 

Think Loch Ness Monster, mermaids, Mothman, panda bears.

International Cryptozoology Museum

Panda bears? Yes, panda bears. The coolest thing I learned at this small museum is that the USA considered panda bears to be a cryptid until the 1930s (ish). People in the States had heard of pandas, but had never seen one. Therefore, Western science did not recognize the panda bear as a real animal until well into the 20th century. 

When I first looked into this attraction, I almost got the vibe that it was a collection of memorabilia in a Bigfoot fanatic’s basement. Fortunately, it wasn’t. (That wouldn’t have stopped me, though.) Basically, it was some guy’s personal collection that he displayed in a public place for the world to see.

Although it was a small museum, it had a lot of information. First, you learn about animals, such as the panda, that used to be considered cryptids. Then you began to learn about more obscure cryptids, including the evidence for their existence. In addition to news articles and memorabilia, the displays also hold lifelike replicas of some intriguing animals. 

Loren Coleman, the founder of this museum, is one of the big names in the cryptozoology world. He has spent decades searching for answers regarding some of these strange animals. However, he didn’t want to merely convince people that these animals do exist. He wanted us to leave thinking that maybe this stuff is real. But obviously some of it isn’t. But we’ve discovered new species in the past century so who’s to say we won’t discover more in the next?

Then you go on to learn about the more popular cryptics, such as Bigfoot and yetis. I’m not saying the displays convinced me, but they definitely opened my mind to the possibility of such animals existing. It was definitely a strangely educational and surprisingly enjoyable stop along the Atlantic border of Maine!

If you keep driving along Highway 1, you’ll hit New Hampshire in an hour, bringing an end to your journey through Maine. We quickly learned that New Hampshire is also an underrated state, along with that entire corner of the country. You should definitely plan a vacation in that part of the country if you haven’t been that way before! 

In addition to Maine, you can find beauty throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. Rhode Island and Connecticut may be small in size, but they’re big in experiences! And let’s not forget Massachusetts, home to Boston, which in itself is chock full of history. 

Have you been to the Northeastern states before? If so, tell us which one was your favorite! I’d also love to hear what you think is a “must-do” in that part of the country.

Asia

5 Best Beaches in Bali, Indonesia

A trip to Bali is like a trip to paradise. And what’s paradise without white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and magnificent cliffs and caves? Bali has it all and we want to give you a list of the 5 best beaches in Bali Indonesia (including insider tips) so that you can enjoy your well-deserved vacation to the fullest.

1. Suluban Beach in Uluwatu

Suluban Beach in Uluwatu, Bali

If you want to explore a magnificent hidden cave in Uluwatu, you should check-out Suluban beach cave and admire its tall cliffs and turquois water. You’ll find the cave at the bottom of the cliff, after an approximately 10-minute walk down on concrete stairs. Before the pandemic, you would pass lots of clifftop bars, cafes, surfboard rentals as well as small souvenir shops on your way down. Sadly, most have disappeared but now that Bali is reopening, they will for sure come back – so you’re in for a treat. If you’re into surfing, Suluban Beach Cave offers the main entry point to Uluwatus well-known left-hand break at Blue Point Beach.

Insider tip: Since Suluban Beach is a cave, it’s not ideal for swimming or sunbathing. But if you come during low tide you can enjoy the amazing view and take some really breathtaking pictures of the waves coming in and out between the cliffs.  

2. Amed Beach

Amed Beach is one of the best beaches in Bali, Indonesia

Located in the northern part of Bali, Amed is home to black sand beaches, and some of the best diving and snorkeling spots. Here, you’ll find vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish and turtles. Palm-lined Jemeluk Bay is famous among many tourists wanting to snorkel. It offers a shallow and healthy reef with dozens of tropical fish as well as sea turtles. If you’re more of a diver, you’ll find a Japanese shipwreck near Banyuning Bay.

Insider tip: Mount Agung is not too far from Amed and worth a visit if you’re in the area for more than a day. Mount Agung is Bali’s highest peak and an active volcano. We suggest booking a tour to hike up for sunset and enjoy the magnificent view.

3. Bingin Beach in Uluwatu

Bingin Beach in Uluwatu

Known for its rocky hills, crystal blue water and gorgeous bungalows, Bingin Beach is a must see for all photographers, sunbathers and surfers. Photographers, you will be left speechless by a spectacular scenery and exotic blue and green water. Surfers, rest assured you will catch epic waves no matter the tide. Sunbathers, during low tide you can relax on the nice white sand beach and get that tan going. Keep in mind, the beach is tricky to get to as you have to walk down a number of stairs and even some rocks to reach but it sure is all worth it!

Insider tip: If you’re in the area on a Friday or Saturday, make sure to check out the new beach club Savaya. It has an amazing infinity pool overseeing the ocean and the cliffs of Uluwatu as well as a DJ and a dancefloor for those who want to dance through the night.

4. Echo Beach

Echo Beach, Bali

Located in the new hot-spot area of Bali, Canggu, Echo beach is perfect for catching sunsets thanks to its western position. It’s easily accessible and a favorite among surfers with great waves to catch all year around. If you want to refresh yourself with a nice, cool coconut or sip a delicious cocktail while watching the sunset you’re in for a treat – Echo beach is surrounded by many cute beach cafes and bars (seaweed, beach bums, sandbar just to name a few)

Insider tip: If you’re looking for a nice bear bar to enjoy the rest of your evening at, check out La Brisa near Echo Beach. It has two pools for those who want to switch it up a bit, comfy bean bags and a great view over the ocean. On Sundays, they even have a cute market with local goods.

5. Melasti Beach in Uluwatu

Melasti Beach in Uluwatu

Located at the foot of a high cliff, you’ll find Melasti Beach. Known for its clear and calm waters, Melasti Beach is the perfect spot if you want to go for a swim. If you like snorkeling, make sure to also bring your snorkeling gear as you can spot many colorful fish here. Want to grab an affordable but also delicious bite after some snorkeling? You’re bound to find many local warungs in the area that are worth a visit.

Insider tip: Uluwatu Temple is very close by and the perfect spot to catch the sunset overlooking the Indian Ocean. For those who want to experience some Balinese culture, make sure to watch the daily kecak fire dance performance as the sun sets. As Uluwatu Temple is a sacred place for the Balinese, we would like to ask you to please adhere to the temple etiquette

Final Words on Best Beaches in Bali Indonesia

We hope to find you relaxing, snorkeling or surfing at one of Bali’s best beaches very soon. Your well-deserved vacation in paradise will hopefully take your mind off the stressful times. If you want some more inspiration and detailed information about everything Bali related you can check out BaliBuddies.

Facebook: Bali Buddies

Instagram: @balibuddies

Travel Tips

Best Beach Coolers with Wheels

A quick trip to the beach is always nice, but when you want to make a full day of it, it’s good to plan head. Food and drinks are essential, so it helps to have one of the best beach coolers with wheels. A rolling cooler for the beach makes it easy to transport snacks across the sand, and to keep them cool and fresh for when you get hungry.

With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to start researching a new purchase for your beach vacation. A portable cooler with wheels can help you have a more stress-free trip.

best beach coolers with wheels
best beach coolers with wheels

There are lots of choices of coolers, so take your time to research features and price points. This guideline will hopefully help you find the best beach coolers with wheels for you and your family.

Benefits of Rolling Coolers for the Beach

Have you ever gone to the beach but tried to carry everything you needed by hand? With the hot sand under your feet, and possibly a long way to walk if the beach is crowded, it can be uncomfortable. I like to carry a few cold drinks with me, and they can get heavy as well.

Add to that the towers, chairs, umbrellas, suntan lotion, and sporting equipment, and it gets really cumbersome!

Fortunately there are beach coolers with wheels that can actually roll across the sand without getting stuck. I was surprised to find this out myself, but it really makes a beach day much more enjoyable.

Things to Consider When Finding the Best Beach Coolers with Wheels

The first thing to consider before making a purchase is the size of the cooler will you need. Do you typically go to the beach along, with your significant other, or with a large group including kids? The more people you need to supply with food and drink, the larger the cooler probably needs to be.

The next thing to think about is the size of the wheels. Generally, larger wheels work better on sand than smaller wheels. Make sure it also has a handle that is comfortable for you.

Finally, look into the quality of the cooler and how well it works at actually keeping your ice cubs, food, and drinks cold. This is something known as ice retention capacity.

The thickness of the cooler walls is important in this factor, but also read other customer’s review to find out how well it keeps food cold. (We can’t name it as one of the best rolling beach coolers with wheels if it doesn’t keep your stuff cold!)

There are a few other features that are nice too:

  • Cup holders – having cup holders on the cooler can be handy for making sure your drinks don’t spill, and for keeping sand out of your cup or can. The downside is that you may have to pick the cups up out of the holders every time you want to open it. So consider if this is important for you, or if you prefer to use the cup holders in your chairs, if they have them.
  • Lock – some coolers come equipped with a lock, which can help keep your valuables safe, as well as your food. Think about whether this feature is important to you.
  • Extra Handles – you may not always want to wheel your cooler behind you, and if so, look for coolers that have additional methods of carrying them. These may include side handles or a shoulder strap.

How is the Size of Coolers Measured

You may see coolers listed with different types of measurements to show the size. This can be confusing, since some listings show size in quarts, while others in number of 12-ounce cans. They may also show capacity in gallons or cubic feet, but cans and quarts is the most comment.

According to West Marine, one quart represents 3/4 of a can. To convert from quarts to cans, simply multiple the number of quarts times 0.75. For example, a 70-quart cooler is 70 * 0.75 = 52.5 cans.

Now let’s look at the top contenders for the best beach coolers with wheels.

Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Quart Cooler

Best Beach Coolers with Wheels

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 Stars

The Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler is by far the best-rolling cooler I have found. While others work well enough for most beach sand, this one is designed for all terrains and the positive reviews indicate that customers are very pleased with the company’s claim.

Convenience comes with a price, but if this more expensive cooler is within your budget, it’s a great pick.

With 10 inches of clearance and superb traction, the wheels on this cooler can handle anything you throw at them. The 70-quart size fits 112 cans, so it’s much larger than the options we’ve shown above, making it perfectly for a family or other larger groups.

It has a water-resistent storage area that keeps other items away from your food and drink, and safe from spills. The convenient drain plug in the back makes clean-up a breeze once you get home. The butler tray and drink holders make for an easy way to serve your food while at the beach.

YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler

Capacity: 55 Quarts

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Yeti has become one of the most popular names in outdoor equipment over the past few years, to the point that it’s almost a status symbol for people who love the brand. Yeti is known best for its coolers and drinkware, and is a favorite among beach goers, sporting fans, and campers.

So it’s no surprise that the Yeti Tundra Haul portable wheeled cooler is the highest rated cooler on our list. The molded design of Yeti coolers means they have no seams, and the company claims that are “virtually indestructible”. It’s certainly one of the most heavy duty wheeled beach coolers on the market.

The Tundra Haul features never-flat wheels, so you don’t have to deal with the unpleasant surprise of a flat wheel. The single-piece wheels are puncture and impact resistent. The “strong arm” handle has comfortable grips and is designed for perfect pulling, no matter whether you pull with your left or right hand.

The best part of all Yeti coolers is that they have the best ice retention on the planet…your food will stay nice and fresh and cold! They do this with what they call a “fatwall design”, where the pressure-inject insulating foam into the cooler walls and lid.

Plus Yeti coolers come in a variety of colors to suit your tastes!

VINGLI 80 Quart Wagon Rolling Cooler Ice Chest

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you’re trying to maximize the room you have, the Vingli Wagon is a good bet. At 80 quarts, it can fit lots of tasty snacks for your beach trip. The dual-hinged lid means you can access the contents from either side, allowing you to set items on one side and still open the other.

The Vingli wagon is constructed from an iron and steel base with a powder coated finish. It comes with a few additional handy features, including a bottle opener and cap catch tray – so it can help prevent accidental littering on the beach! The rear drain spout makes cleaning the cooler much easier.

For beach purposes, the best part of this cooler is its all-terrain wheels. The large 10-inch size means is rolls better then those with smaller wheels. Additional, two of the wheels lock. While the cooler is unlike to roll in sand, this is a nice feature if you want to use it elsewhere that locking casters will help prevent rolling.

The biggest complaint about this model is that it doesn’t collapse or fold down. So if you are limited on storage space for when you’re not using the cooler, that’s also something to consider.

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 60 (50+10) Can Collapsible Rolling Cooler with All-Terrain Cart

Best Rolling Cooler for the Beach

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 Stars

The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze cooler carries up to 60 canned drinks and keeps them super cold all day long. Customers rave over the solid construction and durability. Reviewers have confirmed that it rolls well across the sand at the beach, too..

Three layers of foam help to keep food and drinks cold, and a reflective surface helps to bounce back heat from the sun, to further prevent melting.

The exterior is stain resistent, and abrasion and puncture resistent. Inside, the lining has Microban to help prevent the growth of bacteria and resulting odors.

In case you decide not to pull this cooler, it also has a shoulder strap. (Options are good!) The cooler folds up when not in use to help save space.

Beach Cooler with Wheels

Coleman SPORTFLEX Soft Cooler

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Coleman has been the standard in outdoor gear for a long time, so it’s no surprise to have one of their coolers in this best beach coolers with wheels list. Their Sportflex soft cooler. This size is a 42-can cooler, but they also have 9-can, 16-can, and 30-can sizes as well.

This cooler is both flexible and durable, and tests indicate that it keeps its contents cold for up to 34 hours. Again, reviewers rave about using it at the beach.

In addition to the heavy-duty wheels, the Sportflex also features a telescoping handle, padded side handles and 4-way stretch pockets. The hatch on the top of the coolers provides easy access to the contents inside.

The cooler is leakproof and odor-resistent.

I hope this review has given you some ideal choices for a rolling cooler for your next beach vacation. I’ve tried to cover a range of prices and options, so that there’s something to fit everyone’s budget.

Have a great trip with one of our best beach coolers with wheels!

England Featured

Visiting the Amazing Tower of London

A common bucket list item for tourists to the United Kingdom is visiting the Tower of London.

There are many reasons to visit The Tower of London. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a Listed Building that indicates its importance both architecturally and historically. It’s also a very popular destination for tourists, 2.8 million of whom come from near and far each year to visit the Tower. If you’d like to count yourself among that group of visitors, here are some things to know about the Tower of London before you visit.

History of the Tower of London

The Tower of London was originally built in 1068 by William the Conqueror, two years after he conquered England. The building that is now in the center of the property, called the White Tower, was the entire property at that time. The walls and other buildings came later.

Tower of London
Tower of London

Many people think of the Tower of London as a prison, and of course it was so for much of its existence. But the White Tower was originally built as a palace, and a fine example of one, I might add. It was used as a royal residence by many of the Kings and Queens of England.

The entire complex was expanded over the centuries and now includes, in order from the center to the outskirts of the property:

  • the White Tower at its center
  • a grassy area called the “inner ward” that surrounds the White Tower on three sides
  • the inner wall surrounding that
  • the outer ward which lies between the two walls
  • the outer wall
  • the grassy moat

There are several other well-known parts of the Tower of London. The Church of St Peter ad Vincula is the final resting and burial place of several famous historical figures, many of who were also held prisoner at the tower. This esteemed though non-enviable list includes Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others.

Things to See at the Tower of London

Although it’s right in the middle of the city of London and doesn’t seem to occupy that much space, don’t be deceived. You really can’t see everything at the Tower of London in a single day. If you want to try, your best bet is to arrive before it opens, and head straight to the Waterloo Block, which houses the Crown Jewels.

The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London (photos cannot be taken inside)

The Crown Jewels of The United Kingdom

The Crown Jewels display is by far the most popular attraction at the Tower, and the one that you’ll wait in line the longest to see.

The Crown Jewels of The United Kingdom, as they are officially known today, are really something you’ll want to see. On display are a number of crowns, with lots of jewels embedded in them…the name pretty much speaks for itself. But there’s a lot more as well. There are processional objects like swords and maces, objects used during the anointing ceremony of several monarchs, robes, orbs, scepters and more. The Tower Guard keeps a watchful eye on these priceless objects, which are occasionally removed for use by Her Majesty for special occasions of national importance.

A flat people mover runs on both sides of the main display, in order to give visitors the best view and to prevent crowding.

Pay no attention to the conspiracy theory of those who say the jewels aren’t real. The Historic Royal Palaces says they are real, and so they are.

The Old Roman Wall

When you finish seeing the crown jewels, if you exit back toward the White Tower, you can see the remnants of the old Roman wall that ran across the land before the Tower was ever built. This wall was built around 200 A.D. when the Romans occupied what is now England, including the city of London, which they called Londinium. Wikipedia says “This wall largely defined the boundaries of the City of London until the later Middle Ages.”

Remnants of the old Roman wall outside the White Tower
Remnants of the old Roman wall outside the White Tower

The actual Roman wall was mostly destroyed before the castle was built. However, the location is marked by two rows of stones on the east side of the White Tower. The Roman wall remains are shown above; they are the two stone “paths” along the ground. At the southern end of these two rows is a partial wall, but according to Archeology Travel, it dates back to the 11th or 12th century. It is not actually part of the Roman wall; it’s part of a tower that was built later as part of the Tower of London complex.

However, you can see part of the actual Roman wall outside of the Tower of London property. If you exit the tube at the Tower Hill station to walk to the Tower itself, you’ll pass right by one of the largest sections of the wall that’s still standing. It’s kind of nice that this is available to any passerby to see, without having to purchase tickets!

The Tower Ravens

If you’ve spent much time on my blog, you may have already picked up on my love for travel that involves wildlife, especially birds, so getting to see the Tower Ravens was quite a treat for me.

There are supposed to always be a minimum of six ravens in residence at the Tower of London. The reason for this is a myth that says that Charles II was warned that if they ever left, the city of London would fall. Since that time, supposedly, there have always been at least six ravens at the Tower. There are large cages where the ravens can sleep at night, and they do so most nights, but they are mostly free to come and go at will. (The flight feathers are kept clipped to prevent flights of much distance.) At the time of this writing there are nine ravens who live at the tower.

Tower of London ravens
George, a former member of the Tower of London ravens

While you visit, keep an eye out for these comical and sometimes aggressive animals. They are a beloved feature and England goes to great lengths to take care of them. There is one Yeoman Warder whose sole job is to care for the ravens. With the addition of “Ravenmaster” at the end of his title, Christopher Skaife holds this honor. If you’re interested in learning more about his life caring for these intelligent birds, I highly recommend his book Ravenmaster (available on Amazon). You can also follow him (and the birds!) on Instagram and Twitter.

Here’s a funny quick story. While visiting the Tower, I accidentally dropped a one-pound coin on the ground. It was quickly snatched up by the closest raven! I was scared to death it would choke on the coin and die, and England would fall, and it would be entirely my fault! So I tried to get the coin back. I didn’t succeed, but I did get bit. Later, after I was home and while I was reading The Ravenmaster, I was able to figure out that it was Raven George who nipped my finger. George also got to keep my coin!

As it turns out, Raven George had some other bad habits, and he has since been dishonorably discharged from Her Majesty’s service. Serves him right.

Traitor’s Gate

The entrance known as Traitor’s Gate provides water-based access to the Tower of London. It wasn’t originally designed for traitors, though. Traitor’s Gate was added to the Tower by King Edward I (“Longshanks”) to provide personal access to the Tower of London from the Thames River.

Traitor's Gate at the Tower of London
Traitor’s Gate water entrance at the Tower of London

It wasn’t until much later that the Tower of London gained its reputation for housing prisoners and for being the site of their execution. During that time, the entrance became known as Traitor’s Gate. Many prisoners were unfortunate enough to enter the Tower through Traitor’s Gate, including Sir Thomas More, Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey (The Nine Day’s Queen), and Princess Elizabeth (later to be crowned Queen Elizabeth I). Many never left the Tower again.

Historical Reenactments

One of the most entertaining things to do at the Tower of London, is to participate in one of their historical reenactments. Actors put on fun-yet-informative reenactments of famous events that have taken place over the centuries. It’s a fabulous way to bring the history of the Tower to life! The actors take great care not to break character, which helps you to imagine that you’re really a part of the history.

The reenactment we watched included John Gerard’s escape – and the actor pretended to fall so believably that we all gasped. The entire performance was incredibly entertaining!

The reenactment are really educational, so they are great for children, as well as adults who are interested in the fascinating history of the Tower of London.

The White Tower and the Princes in the Tower

There’s a lot to see inside the White Tower, which sits right in the middle of the Tower of London complex. As I mentioned earlier, this is the oldest and original building on the grounds. You climb a set of stairs outside of the tower before entering, and along the way, you’ll see the sign for the Princes in the Tower.

The White Tower
The White Tower

This tragic story tells of the two young children of King Edward IV, after he was deposed in battle as part of the Wars of the Roses. When he died in 1483, the boys were placed in the protection of his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The young princes were kept at the Tower awaiting coronation of the older one, when they were declared illegitimate and Richard ascended the throne as Richard III. The boys, aged 12 and 9, were never seen again.

Interpretive sign about the Princes in the Tower
Interpretive sign about the Princes in the Tower

In 1674, the bones of two young boys were found under a set of stairs (not the same ones you climb outside) and exhumed by a workman. It is presumed that they are the remains of the princes, but it has never been proven and no attempts at proof have been made. The role that their uncle played in their death is a hotly debated topic among historians, both professional and amateur.

Armor of King Henry VIII
Armor of King Henry VIII

Once inside the White Tower, you’ll find the Line of Kings display, which has many representations of armor from the history of England, including two suits of armor worn by King Henry VIII. The Line of Kings, as a museum display, itself dates back to the 17th century! And the pieces inside are much older, in many cases.

You’ll also find the beautiful Chapel of St. John, which is where the bodies of the young princes were found. Its beautiful stained-glass windows were added by King Henry III in 1240.

Fans of medieval torture devices will enjoy (shudder) the excellent display on the top floor.

The Wire Sculptures of Animals

The Tower of London has, as part of its storied history, been used as a menagerie, or a kind of zoo. Having exotic animals helped to display the wealth and might of English monarchs. Some of the Tower’s animal residents were lions and tigers, elephants and zebras, and even a polar bear who was kept on a chain and allowed to fish in the Thames! (A sad but interesting tale.)

In 2010, an artist named Kendra Haste was commissioned to create 13 wire sculptures of the animals once kept at the Tower of London Menagerie. Today when you visit, you’ll see the sculptures in various locations throughout the Tower grounds. The sculptures include the infamous polar bear, three monkeys, several lions, and elephant, and more.

When the Tower of London’s menagerie was closed, the remaining 150 animals were moved to Regent’s Park as part of the London Zoo. These beautiful sculptures stand in their memory.

Church of St Peter ad Vincula

Church of St Peter ad Vincula
Church of St Peter ad Vincula

The Church of St Peter ad Vincula, sometimes called the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, is the former parish church for the Tower of London. It sits within the inner ward portion of the Tower grounds. The church building was completed in 1520, and features strong Tudor influences in its design.

The chapel is best known as the burial place of many famous historical people, some of whom were executed at the Tower. The Church of St Peter ad Vincula is the final resting place of Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, two of the wives of King Henry VIII; Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, and her husband are also interred there. Some additional people buried in the church include George Boleyn, Anne’s brother; two tax collectors for King Henry VII; Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s minister; and Thomas Seymour, the brother of Jane Seymour. A list of “remarkable persons” buried in the church is displayed within the chapel.

A list of people buried at The Church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London
A list of people buried at The Church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London

The Church of St Peter ad Vincula and its burials is one of the most common sources of the various ghosts that inhabit the property. The most famous ghost in the tower of London is, of course, Anne Boleyn’s. Her ghost has been seen around the grounds carrying her severed head. She was executed by beheading with a sword at the Tower, so if she’s going to haunt any place, the Tower of London is probably her best option!

Near the church, you’ll notice a number of bright blue doors. These are entrances to the homes of the Yeoman Warders, the ceremonial guards, and their families. Supposedly they are blue because they are painted with leftover paint from the Tower Bridge.

The church is an active place of worship and conducts services on Sundays.

How to Visit the Tower of London

Hopefully by this point, you’re wondering how to go to Tower of London yourself. Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit on your next trip to London.

Tower of London Tickets

You can purchase tickets to the Tower of London online through the Historic Royal Palaces website. Click here to go directly to the ticket page. Adult tickets are just under £30 at the time of this writing, and there are discounts for children, seniors, and families. You can also purchase a membership which lets you visit for no additional fee.

To book tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys, visit this page instead.

You can also book tickets through Get Your Guide, which also offers sightseeing opportunities such as a River Thames Cruise and a hop-on hop-off London bus tour.

How to Get To the Tower of London

The easiest way to get to the Tower of London – or anywhere else in London – is to take the Tube. (“The Tube” is the nickname for the London Underground, the subway system of the city.) There is a tube station just across the street at Tower Hill. The District and Circle lines stop at this station, and once you exit, it’s a short walk to the Tower. As an added bonus, on the way, you’ll pass one of the largest still-standing sections of the old Roman wall that was built in the 200s, and which used to surround the city of London.

A section of the old Roman wall that surrounded London, near the Tower Hill tube station entrance
A section of the old Roman wall that surrounded London, near the Tower Hill tube station entrance

You can also arrive by cab, double-decker bus, or by water. Most hop-on, hop-off tour buses also provide transportation to the Tower.

Tower of London Hours

The Tower of London operates different schedules depending on the season. During the summer (March – October), the Tower is open:

  • Sundays and Mondays from 10am to 5:30pm
  • Tuesday – Saturday from 9am to 5:30pm

During the winter (September – February) it is open:

  • Sundays and Mondays from 10am to 4:30pm
  • Tuesday – Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm

Holidays and other activities may affect opening times, so check the official website for complete details.

Tips for Visiting the Tower of London

Go early and see the Crown Jewels first. I realize I’ve already stated this, but I can’t overemphasize the importance: get there early! Especially if it’s your first time and/or you want to see the Crown Jewels. Be in line before they open, and head straight to the Crown Jewels display on the north side of the Tower. This approach will minimize your time standing in line.

Read up about the Tower before you go. When you’re there, you’ll likely be overwhelmed by everything there is to see. If you already know some of the history, it can help you prioritize your day. You’ll have an even better time and hopefully you won’t miss anything that you really wanted to see. It can be helpful to plan out what you want to see in the different areas of the property.

Wear comfortable shoes! You will do a ton of walking and some climbing of stairs too. I literally didn’t finish seeing the entire place because, despite wearing perfectly comfy sneakers, my feet hurt so bad that I just had to sit down for awhile. (That’s when I encountered Raven George, though, and I wouldn’t have traded that for the world!)

Take lots of pictures. Did I mention that the Tower of London is overwhelming? Photos will help you remember your visit later on so you don’t forget any details. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a fancy camera or your handy cell phone…I took photos with both and I still don’t think I took enough. One thing to note is that you’re not allowed to take pictures of the Crown Jewels.

Tower Bridge as seen from the Tower of London
Tower Bridge as seen from the Tower of London

Don’t forget to look out! There’s so much to see inside the Tower of London that you may almost forget to look out toward the city. From atop the walls, you’ll get a magnificent view of the city’s skyscrapers, and other historical structures such as the beautiful Tower Bridge and the HMS Belfast, not to mention the Thames River itself.

Not all of the Tower is wheelchair-accessible – in fact, much of it is not. The Historic Royal Palaces’ website has more information on accessibility within the Tower of London, including information for those with limited mobility, hearing impairment, and sight impairment. If accessibility is important for you or a traveling companion, use their resources to plan ahead.

Guided Tours of the Tower of London

If you’re visiting the Tower of London for the first time, you might want to consider a guided tour so you don’t miss anything important. The best tours are those led by the Yeoman Warders themselves. These Beefeater Tours are free with your general admission ticket, and they start every 30 minutes from the main entrance. You don’t need to book them ahead of time.

The Beefeaters know the history of the Tower inside and out, and will regale you with tales of the Tower’s famous prisoners, the tower’s construction during the time of William the Conqueror, and the debate over Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.

You can also book a tour through GetYourGuide that includes early access to the Tower grounds, and a Beefeater to be your Tower of London guide. Since you arrive before the Tower is open to the public, you can see the Crown Jewels without waiting in an extra line.

Hotels Near the Tower of London

If your primary goal when visiting London is to see the Tower, then it’s a great idea to stay within walking distance. You can of course use public transportation to go pretty much anywhere in the city, so even if you want to see attractions in other areas, like Big Ben or Abbey Road, you can still stay near the Tower. Here are some of our favorite hotels near the Tower of London.

The Tower Hotel

The Tower Hotel is owned by the Thistle Hotels group, a UK company that owns seven properties in Central London. It is located just by Tower Bridge, and select rooms have an amazing view of the iconic bridge. Make sure you book in advance and request a room with this view!

The breakfast options include a Full English and a buffet. There is a restaurant on-site which also has views of the bridge. If you have a car, you’ll be thrilled to know there is on-site parking. At a rating of 8.2, it’s the lowest-rated hotel in our list but still rated very high! And you can’t stay closer to the Tower of London unless you’re actually a Yeoman Warder who lives there!

citizenM Tower of London

citizenM is only 0.2 miles from the Tower; in fact, it’s located right above Tower Hill Underground station. This is a Netherlands-based hotel company that offers “luxury experiences at affordable prices”. They offer continental and buffet breakfasts, satellite television, iPad controlled room features (lights, air conditioning, curtains, and TV). Guests rate this hotel a 9.0.

Hotel Indigo Tower Hill

Hotel Indigo are modern hotels from IHG Hotels & Resorts, a popular choice for rewards shoppers. Their property Hotel Indigo Tower Hill is no exception. It has quirky modern decor combined with more timeless elements like brick walls and four-poster beds. Reviewers say the beds are super comfy, and they also offer a full English breakfast.

Like Canopy below, it’s a 14-minute walk from Hotel Indigo to the Tower of London ticket office. The two properties are close by, but Hotel Indigo is slightly closer to the tower.

Canopy By Hilton London City

If you’re a fan of Hilton properties, then Canopy by Hilton London City is perfect for your London stay. At only 0.3 miles from the Tower, it’s a quick 14 minute walk down Minories, around the Moat and Tower Green, and down toward the Thames and the ticket office. Canopy is pet-friendly and has a buffet breakfast. Their guest rating is 9.0.

Have you visited the Tower of London? Drop a note in the comments and let us know what your favorite part was. If you haven’t visited, then now is the time to start planning. This is one historical sight that you’ll never regret taking the time to see! (Just try not to get nipped by a raven, ok?)

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